NAGALINGAM AJ.—Mohotti Appnhamy v. Bowela.
1946Present: Nagalingam A.J.
MOHOTTI APPUHAMY, Appellant, and BOWELA, Respondent.1,341—M. C. Aoissawella, 35,454.
Firearms—Possession of gun without licence—Plea of accused that anotherperson holds licence—Validity of such defence—Firearms Ordinance(Cap. 139), s. 22 (1).
A person cannot be convicted of having had in his possession a gun inbreach-of section 22 (1) of the Firearms Ordinance if he proves that someother person is duly licensed to possess the gun.
PPEAL against a conviction from the Magistrate’s Court, Avissa-wella.
M. E. Dharmawardene, for the accused, appellant.
J.G. T. Weeraratne, C.C., for the Attorney-General.
December 12, 1946. Nagalingam A.J.—
The accused in this case has been convicted of having had in his pos-session a single-barrel muzzle-loading gun in breach of section 22 (1) ofChapter 139 of the Legislative Enactments of Ceylon and sentenced topay a fine of Rs. 20. The point of law taken on behalf of the accusedis that where an accused proves that some other person was the possessorof the gun, the accused could not be charged with having been in posses-sion although other offences such as having had the custody or havingused the gun may appropriately form the subject cf other charges.
Section 29 of the Firearms Ordinance no doubt states that the occupierof any house in which a gun shall be found shall for the purposes of theOrdinance be deemed to be the possessor of the gun. This section issubject to two qualifications one ox which is that if the accused proves
DIAS J-—In re Suppiah.
that some other person is the possessor of the gun then the presumptionis rebutted. In this case the accused called the licensed owner of thegun, one Romanis, who gave evidence of the fact that he was duly licensedto possess the gun. There has been no cross-examination of this witness-but the learned Magistrate rejected the evidence of Romanis on theground that he did not believe that he had left the gun with the accusedonly that morning because as he says he had to go to the dispensary.
While it may be correct to take the view that the gun had been leftin the house of the accused for a longer period of time, nevertheless theaccused cannot be found guilty if he establishes that some other personwas the possessor of the gun ; the accused has called Romanis to establishthis fact. The learned Magistrate does not appear to have had hisattention drawn to this aspect of the matter. I therefore set aside theconviction and acquit the accused.
MOHOTTI APPUHAMY, Appellant, and BOWELA, Respondent